Childhood trauma exposure in Iraq and Afghanistan war era veterans: implications for posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and adult functional social support.
OBJECTIVE: This study examined the relationship among childhood trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and adult social support in a large sample of veterans who served in the military after 09/11/2001, with a specific focus on the potential role of the PTSD avoidance and numbing cluster as intervening in the association between childhood abuse and adult functional social support. METHOD: Participants were 1,301 veterans and active duty soldiers who have served in the military since 09/11/2001; a subsample of these participants (n=482) completed an inventory of current functional social support. Analyses included linear regression and nonparametric bootstrapping procedures. RESULTS: After controlling for combat exposure, exposure to childhood trauma was associated with PTSD symptoms in adulthood. Further, PTSD symptoms, and particularly PTSD avoidance/numbing cluster symptoms, intervened in the relationship between childhood trauma and adult functional social support. CONCLUSIONS: Findings support the association of childhood trauma (both abuse related and other, non-abuse related trauma) with PTSD symptoms in military personnel and veterans, even after accounting for combat exposure. Additionally, the avoidance and numbing symptom cluster of childhood trauma-based PTSD may be particularly salient in compromising one's subsequent ability to garner functional social support in adulthood.
Van Voorhees, EE; Dedert, EA; Calhoun, PS; Brancu, M; Runnals, J; Beckham, JC; VA Mid-Atlantic MIRECC Workgroup,
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